Koby McBroome knew what was at stake Saturday. So did the entire Southwest Christian baseball team. Many of them were in a similar situation in 2019.
A chance to win the Minnesota River Conference title, the Stars needed two wins in a doubleheader versus Jordan. The Hubmen beat them 13-0 and 10-0.
A chance to win the program's first league championship on May 22, a win needed versus Le Sueur-Henderson, senior Koby McBroome rallied the troops with the game scoreless through three innings.
"I called in the guys. I told them with Cade (Wiegert) pushing on the mound, and our bats bound to come alive, I said we needed to focus on our defense. We needed to keep them at zero and just give our offense time to get going," McBroome said.
With Wiegert dominating in his return to the mound, one hit allowed with 10 strikeouts, the offense did come alive, five runs scored in the fourth and sixth inning, a 10-0 win to clinch a share of the Minnesota River Conference title with Belle Plaine.
"We all knew what was at stake. I know I caught myself focusing too much on it. Most games me and Seth Luther, our second batter, are on base in the first inning. When we didn't get on, it was almost like we're in for a tough game maybe," McBroome said.
Southwest Christian, winners of eight in a row, broke the ice with a Jack Widdifield RBI-single. Widdifield and Brayden Zimmerman each had two hits with Matthew Deziel and Kody McBroome each driving in two runs.
Nine different Stars scored runs in the championship clincher.
Southwest Christian tied with Belle Plaine at 10-2 in league play with Sibley East one game back at 9-3.
Southwest Christian has five full-time starters hitting over .300 led by McBroome at .439. That's 25 hits in 57 at-bats with 12 walks, 11 stolen bases and 32 runs scored. McBroome, with 10 extra-base hits, has an on-base percentage of .556.
Wiegert (three home runs, team-high 25 RBIs, .408 average), first baseman Brayden Zimmerman (20 RBIs, .364 batting average), second baseman Lucas Anderson (.333 average), and outfielder Camden Mellema (.308 average, 14 RBIs) give the Stars production up-and-down the line-up.
"Our line-up is deep. It's a different guy every game coming up with the big hit," said McBroome, who was announced on Sunday as the first player in SWCHS history to be named to the Play Ball! MN All-Star Series in June in Chaska.
While Southwest Christian is hitting .315 as a team, every bit of the reason the Stars are 15-3 this season is the pitching staff. The Stars have a staff earned run average of 2.59 with 189 strikeouts.
Bennett Manley (4-1 record, 2.06 ERA), Wiegert (3-0 record, 56 strikeouts) and Luther (2-2 record, two saves) have been Southwest Christian's top arms with Ollie Yuhas throwing a no-hitter in a recent 10-0 win over Blake School.
"We feel like with our line-up, with our pitching, we can make a run at sections," McBroome said.
Southwest Christian will find out its playoff seed on May 26. With a 7-1 record against Section 5AA opponents, including top wins over Holy Family Catholic and Providence Academy, the Stars may find itself seeded second behind Glencoe-Silver Lake.
HEADED TO THE ISLAND
McBroome, a starting shortstop since his freshman season at Southwest Christian High School, was strongly considering Army West Point to continue playing baseball in college.
McBroome became close with assistant coach Jamie Pinzino in the process, and when Pinzino left West Point, joining Elite Sports Advising as the East Coast Director, his connection with McBroome continued.
"He was reaching out to schools. He told Wagner about me. That's how I got the offer," McBroome said.
Wagner College, in the heart of Staten Island in New York, is home to Division I athletics. McBroome, who moved from Austin to Prior Lake in third grade, and has played summers with Starters in recent years, is part of a seven-player recruitment class.
"When I got the offer, I was just really excited for the opportunity. I'm really looking forward to being a Seahawk," McBroome said.
First things first for McBroome and Southwest Christian. After recording the program's first conference championship, a program-best 15 wins with an opportunity No. 16 at home at Fritz Field in Cologne on Monday night against Rockford, the Stars will look for more firsts at sections.